I have had asthma my whole life (well, since 6 months old).
I am 44 and it doesn't get any better, but as you get older and wiser you do learn to manage it better. I avoid the things I know I am allergic to , and the other stuff that will set it off. As expected, I also have ezcema.
The current drugs:
Zafirlukast (formerly Accolate)
Ventolin (inhaler and nebs when needed)
Preds (at least 6 times a year)
Anyway, back to the subject.
When my asthma is bad (chest infection and bringing up loads of stuff), I sometimes try using saline solution (salt water) in my nebuliser. I find this cuts through the gunk in my lungs and helps my cough it up.
Medically, it doesn't have any effects. I does make you thirsty as hell.
For anyone interested, you can get nebules from your GP. They're very similar in size to the normal nebules.